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Common Core Standards - Language Arts

Educators Map the Blogging Features and National Writing Contests on StageofLife.com to the English and Language Arts Common Core Standards

Common Core Standards - Language Artsby Eric Thiegs
StageofLife.com Founder & CEO


My wife is a high school English teacher of 15+ years.  She's a certified National Writing Project fellow.  She sits on the board of our local library.  She has her Master's degree (I refer to her as the "smart one" in our relationship).  She reads and writes daily.  She's a published blogger.

I share this introduction about my wife because I know, from hearing her stories and those of her colleagues and friends in the educational community across the US, that the balancing act of being creative in the classroom to effectively reach students while also ensuring that lesson plans adhere to Language Arts state standards creates a lot of work as English and Language Arts teachers plan and develop their curriculum. 

We are in a fortunate position here at StageofLife.com.  As a free educational resource, we welcome over a quarter of a million teenagers to our website each year, who come here to do one thing...read and write.  As teens discovered us, so did their teachers.  With secondary Language Arts teachers using StageofLife.com as an out-of-class writing resource and destination (usually via our national writing contests), we knew that the usage of our website within the education community would at some point guide us to map our digital literacy initiatives, blogging curriculum, essay activities and writing contest features here on StageofLife.com to the Common Core State Standards for Language Arts in the writing, reading, and grammar categories. 

We feel that addressing the Common Core is critically important as our digital literacy initiative here at StageofLife.com continues to expand into one of the fastest growing, grassroots, online reading and writing educational resources available to students and educators.

In addition to satisfying many of the Language Arts Common Core requirements in 45 states and three US territories, we also mapped our essay and blogging platform to the independent Language Arts state standards for Texas, Georgia, Virginia, and Minnesota.

StageofLife.com high school bloggersCompared to the teen essays appearing on StageofLife.com, the below Common Core mapping may not be the most exciting read you've had recently, but as a secondary education teacher, it most certainly will help satisfy your connection for using StageofLife.com (in or out of the classroom) to your Language Arts state standards. 

Our mission, as most of our regular users know, is to help your students find and develop their passion for reading and writing by engaging them in storytelling and writing prompt activities dealing with real-life teen topics that will most certainly hit home in their daily thoughts and lives.

Please contact us if you have any questions.  Thanks for supporting our digital literacy blogging platform here at StageofLife.com.
--Eric Thiegs
CEO and Founder
StageofLife.com


Mapping Stage of Life to Common Core's Language Arts Standards

Below you will find how Stage of Life's blogging and digital literacy activities specifically map to the Common Core and Language Arts state standards.  Look for the green activity description under each Language Arts state standard. 

Select The Language Arts State Standards Mapping Section:
The text below from The Common Core's English and Language Arts Standards...
Authors: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers
Publisher: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers, Washington D.C.
Copyright Date: 2010





Common Core Standards, Language Arts - 9th and 10th grade

Reading: Literature Standards (9th and 10th grade)
Key Ideas and Details:
RL.9-10.2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
STAGEOFLIFE.com:  If your class is working on a lesson involving books such as Tuesdays with Morrie, The Last Lecture, or other "real-life" texts that require a student's self-introspection as part of reading and analysis, we highly welcome those teachers to extend that reading exercise and encourage willing students to share an objective summary essays of these texts on StageofLife.com.  Student may be willing to re-craft their class essay as a book review or recommendation (or anti-recommendation) as a way to shed light on this text with other students across the US and world.
Craft and Structure:
RL.9-10.6. Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature.
STAGEOFLIFE.com:  While some might argue that essays or blogs aren't "literature," by definition, literature is described as "writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays." 

Taking this definition into account and considering Stage of Life is a global writing and reading community, high school students will find a wide range of essays being submitted from outside of the United States to the website. 

These essays provide an authentic point of view from students and bloggers living vastly different cultural experiences than the typical American teenager.  The top twenty referring countries that send essays, readers and global bloggers to StageofLife.com are, in rank order of unique visitors...Canada, Philippines, India, United Kingdom, China, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Pakistan, Indonesia, South Africa, Germany, France, New Zealand, Vietnam, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:
RL.9-10.10. By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 9–10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
STAGEOFLIFE.com:  Thousands of essays and over 5 million words have been uploaded to Stage of Life.  Our Poem Writing Tips Page will offer up tips on poetry and our Teens and Poetry page (a summary from or previous poetry writing contest) provides great mentor text opportunities to use in scaffolding exercises.

Reading: Informational Text Standards (9th and 10th grade)
Key Ideas and Details:
RI.9-10.1. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
STAGEOFLIFE.com:  We have thousands of essays written by teens that appear on Stage of Life for teachers to use as mentor texts.  There are examples of good and bad mentor texts available to spur discussion on a particular topic relevant to the lesson at hand based on the inferences made by the particular blog author. 

To read teen essays grouped by topic or writing prompt, visit our Writing Contest Summary page and click on the appropriate summary report.
RI.9-10.2. Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
STAGEOFLIFE:  The mentor text, writing prompts, and writing contest summary pages will be useful tools to find essays to read to fulfill this standard.
RI.9-10.3. Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
STAGEOFLIFE:  The mentor text, writing prompts, and writing contest summary pages will be useful tools to find essays to read to fulfill this standard.
Craft and Structure:
RI.9-10.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).
STAGEOFLIFE:  The mentor text, writing prompts, and writing contest summary pages will be useful tools to find essays to read to fulfill this standard.
RI.9-10.5. Analyze in detail how an author’s ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text (e.g., a section or chapter).
STAGEOFLIFE:  The mentor text, writing prompts, and writing contest summary pages will again be useful tools to find essays to read to fulfill this standard.
RI.9-10.6. Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose.
STAGEOFLIFE:  The mentor text, writing prompts, and writing contest summary pages will again be useful tools to find essays to read to fulfill this standard.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:
RI.9-10.8. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
STAGEOFLIFE:  The mentor text, writing prompts, and writing contest summary pages will again be useful tools to find essays to read to fulfill this standard.
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:
RI.9-10.10. By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 9–10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range
STAGEOFLIFE:  The essays that appear on Stage of Life are nonfiction.  They are real life essays and experiences and thoughts expressed by real life teens.  The range of reading complexity by the thousands of submitted essays runs the talent gamit from simple prose to complex essay and language structure.  We recommend teachers focusing their students' attention on the winners or semi-finalist named on each of the writing contest summary pages to read examples of nonfiction narratives.

Writing: 9th and 10th grade standards
Text Types and Purposes:
W.9-10.1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
  • Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
  • Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level and concerns.
  • Use words, phrases, and clauses to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.
  • Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
  • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
STAGEOFLIFE.COM:  Our national writing contest for high school students provides a monthly writing prompt on a real-life teen issue that requires students to write and submit their ideas and arguments on the particular issue as a 500 word essay to Stage of Life.

We often give students sub-prompts, outside resources, and/or statistics relevant to the topic for students to incorporate into their essays.

Essays are judged by a panel of 24 Stage of Life Editors who use a wide range of Language Arts criteria to select both the finalists and the eventual essay winner(s).  View our essay judging criteria.

You can find thousands of essays grouped by topic if you visit our writing contest summary page.  Or visit the current student writing contest to see this month's prompt.

W.9-10.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
  • Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
  • Develop the topic with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.
  • Use appropriate and varied transitions to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.
  • Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to manage the complexity of the topic.
  • Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
  • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).
STAGEOFLIFE.COM:  Our national writing contest for high school students provides a monthly writing prompt on a real-life teen issue that requires students to write and submit their ideas and arguments on the particular issue as a 500 word essay to Stage of Life.
We often give students sub-prompts, outside resources, and/or statistics relevant to the topic for students to incorporate into their essays.
Essays are judged by a panel of 24 Stage of Life Editors who use a wide range of Language Arts criteria to select both the finalists and the eventual essay winner(s).  View our essay judging criteria.
You can find thousands of essays grouped by topic if you visit our writing contest summary page.  Or visit the current student writing contest to see this month's prompt.
W.9-10.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
  • Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.
  • Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
  • Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole.
  • Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.
  • Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.
STAGEOFLIFE:  Our mission is to encourage students to share stories about their lives or their thoughts, dreams and hopes for the future.  Because our website is designed around 10 life stages, we  have seen students sharing narratives about their grandparents in the "Grandparenting" stage or memories from their childhood and the role their parents played in the "Raising a Family" stage.

The most exciting thing for most students is that once they've uploaded a story to Stage of Life, that narrative is then archived in their member profile, essentially creating an online journal of all their essays, or blog posts.  This then creates a timeline of digital stories, essays, and narratives that will continue on with the student as he or she transitions into future life stages like college, or on my own, or having a baby. 

The personal profile page and archive of personal narratives will allow each student to follow their development as a writer over time.
Production and Distribution of Writing:
W.9-10.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
STAGEOFLIFE.com:  Our teen writing contest provides clear instructions, task, and purpose around a specific prompt each and every month.
W.9-10.5. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.
STAGEOFLIFE.com:  After students submit an essay to Stage of Life, whether it's for the essay contest or as a personal narrative, they may at any time edit and update that online essay by logging back into Stage of Life, visiting their profile page, clicking on the essay post found in their story archive, and clicking "Edit" at the bottom of the post.

We know, from working with Language Arts educators, that the process of editing, revising, and reworking an essay (or any piece of writing) is an important process of improving one's writing ability.
W.9-10.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.
STAGEOFLIFE:  This Common Core element really hits home with us.  StageofLife.com is by design a technology-based educational resource.  We are a digital literacy platform run exclusively on the internet that allows students to write and produce essays, publish those essays for the world to read, and then update them as needed at any time from their user profile page. 

The blogging and social sharing features incorporated into StageofLife.com also allow student writers and bloggers to then Comment on other essays, share essays, follow certain posts or essays and interact with all of this content in a dynamic and flexible web environment.
Range of Writing:
W.9-10.10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
STAGEOFLIFE:  We encourage our bloggers and writers to quite literally "grow old with us." They start their online Stage of Life journals in high school and can add to it, change it, reflect on it and grow it for years and years to come...all the way through to retirement.  This idea of writing throughout your life is part of StageofLife.com's mission to help inspire life-long readers and writers.

While this is happening on a life-long time scale, teachers and students may use Stage of Life in a classroom time-frame, like during a research paper.  For instance, students could be encouraged to blog about their research paper process on Stage of Life.  This could include quickly blogging about their recent research findings on a particular topic (as it relates to their paper) and then incorporating reflective analysis about the research into each essay post. 

This process will then create a reflective and interactive research process that the student can revisit and potentially even get feedback from the outside world should other writers make comments on any of the posts.

On this topic, Stage of Life will be releasing its "BE THE CHANGE" research paper curriculum kit in 2013 for secondary Language Arts teachers.  Look for that on our Educational Resources page soon.

Language: 9th and 10th grade standards
Conventions of Standard English:
L.9-10.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • Use parallel structure.
  • Use various types of phrases (noun, verb, adjectival, adverbial, participial, prepositional, absolute) and clauses (independent, dependent; noun, relative, adverbial) to convey specific meanings and add variety and interest to writing or presentations.
STAGEOFLIFE:  Our writing contest rules and judging criteria encourage students to use the conventions of standard English.
L.9-10.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
  • Use a semicolon (and perhaps a conjunctive adverb) to link two or more closely related independent clauses.
  • Use a colon to introduce a list or quotation.
  • Spell correctly.
STAGEOFLIFE:  Again, Our writing contest rules and judging criteria encourage students to use the conventions of standard English.
Knowledge of Language:
L.9-10.3. Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
STAGEOFLIFE:  We have a wide range of voices and styles that can be seen in the student essays submitted to Stage of Life.  Consider showing some of our winning essays to your students as possible real-life mentor texts of unique essay style (as a response to a hard writing prompt).
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:
L.9-10.4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 9–10 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
  • Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence, paragraph, or text; a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
  • Identify and correctly use patterns of word changes that indicate different meanings or parts of speech (e.g., analyze, analysis, analytical; advocate, advocacy).
  • Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).
STAGEOFLIFE:  Teachers could ask students to write a short, personal essay about their lives using assigned vocabulary words.  To make the assignment interactive and further reaching, students could submit their essays to Stage of Life

Once essays have been submitted, students could be directed to make comments on others' essays and posts using a 2nd set of vocabulary words, using them in the correct context and in a real-world environment.


L.9-10.6. Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
STAGEOFLIFE.COM:  We have an entire section of Stage of Life dedicated to that next phase after high school - college - and we encourage students to explore the essays, academic jargon, and resources mentioned there.

While many students don't progress directly from high school to college in the traditional sense, our hope is that more will.  We purposely put the college stage after high school in our linear menu bar at the top of the website to hopefully influence more high school students to find their path towards college after high school verses other life stages, i.e. On My Own, Wedding or Having a Baby.


Everyone must live their life by their standards, but we do feel passionately that college is an important life stage, whether you attend immediately after high school or return at a later point in your life.

Common Core Standards, Language Arts - 11th and 12th grade

Reading: Literature Standards (11th and 12th grade)

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:
RL.11-12.10. By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 11–CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
STAGEOFLIFE.com:  Thousands of essays and stories have been shared on Stage of Life.  Our Poem Writing Tips Page will offer up tips on poetry and our Teens and Poetry page (a summary from or previous poetry writing contest) provides great mentor text opportunities to use for reading poems.

Reading: Informational Texts Standards (11th and 12th grade)

Craft and Structure:
RI.11-12.5. Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging.
STAGEOFLIFE:  Being that the essay responses to our monthly writing prompts in the teen writing contests are often subjective viewpoints, there are scores of strong essays to read, analyze and evaluate for each writing prompt to determine if the writer made their points clear, convincing and engaging. 

The essay winner(s) and finalists that you'll find listed in each of the writing contest summary reports are great places to start for mentor text examples that address this core standard.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:
RI.11-12.10. By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 11–CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
STAGEOFLIFE:  The essays that appear on Stage of Life are nonfiction.  They are real life essays sharing the experiences and thoughts expressed by real life teens.  The range of reading complexity by the thousands of submitted essays runs the talent gamit from simple prose to more complex essay structure.  We recommend teachers focusing their students' attention on the winners or semi-finalist named on each of the writing contest summary pages for examples of nonfiction narratives.

Writing Standards: (11th and 12th grade)
Text Types and Purposes
W.11-12.1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
  • Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
  • Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.
  • Use words, phrases, and clauses as well as varied syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.
  • Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
  • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
STAGEOFLIFE:  Our national writing contests for teens and high school students requires students to examine big questions on substantive topics and then respond to that question with a personal story, but backed by reflection, analysis, support, statistics, or other evidence to support their answer. 

This writing process helps students formulate their ideas and write a solid argument in response to a heavy-hitting question.  For our past list of our substantive topics, visit our Writing Contest Summary Reports page.

Our hope, and yours, is that if students can tackle substantive topics well through solid essay writing, or at least get some real-world experience and practice doing it through our writing contests, then we've taken one step closer in helping teens develop their argumentative and free thinking skills while using evidence and support to back their claims...and that right there is a crucial element to an informed and active citizen.
W.11-12.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
  • Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
  • Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.
  • Use appropriate and varied transitions and syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.
  • Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary, and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic.
  • Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
  • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).
STAGEOFLIFE:  Our national writing contests often require a student to become informative and explanatory in their essay responses.  They must present their ideas, in response to a complex topic or issue, using strong diction, rich vocabulary, precise language and a strong conclusion.  The best essays include all of these writing elements. You can find examples of those on our past writing contest summary pages.

Often times, our writing contest questions or prompts will include additional resources, information or statistics that the students need to either address, absorb or process as part of their essay response. 

Incorporating outside elements like this into their essay requires the student writer to develop and write their thoughts around the topic in an organized manner in order to use the additional information in a relevant and meaningful manner.

Feel free to scroll down through past writing contests to see some of the outside content we've provided to students as part of the prompt and then review some of the essays on the writing contest summary reports. 


W.11-12.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
  • Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation and its significance, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.
  • Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
  • Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole and build toward a particular tone and outcome (e.g., a sense of mystery, suspense, growth, or resolution).
  • Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.
  • Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.
STAGEOFLIFE:  Originally, by design, our digital literacy initiative was built for the sole purpose of becoming the world's largest collection of multi-generational, personal narratives.  We couldn't be more attuned to this this Common Core standard as we have become one of the largest and most active repositories of narratives.

As part of our narrative sharing features (click on any of the "Share a Story" links or buttons or tabs throughout the site), we want every student to use telling details, vivid descriptions and sensory language.  From stylized tone to the use of dialogue, the best narratives are those that are interesting to read.

StageofLife.com is a dynamic and interactive writing platform, making it the perfect venue for students to experiment with their writing voice, point of view and other crucial elements that can make personal narratives, and their writing in general, more powerful, impactful, and interesting.


For examples of strong narratives, our mentor text page or writing contest summary reports have lots of real life teen essays to review.

If your students want to just get writing a narrative, tell them to tailor it to our current high school writing contests.
Production and Distribution of Writing:
W.11-12.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
W.11-12.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.
STAGEOFLIFE:  This Common Core element really hits home with us.  StageofLife.com is by design a technology-based educational resource.  We are a digital literacy platform run exclusively on the internet that allows students to write and produce essays, publish those essays for the world to read, and then update them as needed at any time from their user profile page. 

The blogging and social sharing features incorporated into StageofLife.com also allow student writers and bloggers to then Comment on other essays, share essays, follow certain posts or essays and interact with all of this content in a dynamic and flexible web environment.

Range of Writing:
W.11-12.10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes
STAGEOFLIFE:  We encourage our bloggers and writers to quite literally "grow old with us." They start their online Stage of Life journals in high school and can add to it, change it, reflect on it and grow it for years and years to come...all the way through to retirement.  This idea of writing throughout your life is part of StageofLife.com's mission to help inspire life-long readers and writers.

While this is happening on a life-long time scale, teachers and students may use Stage of Life in a classroom time-frame, like during a research paper.  For instance, students could be encouraged to blog about their research paper process on Stage of Life.  This could include quickly blogging about their recent research findings on a particular topic (as it relates to their paper) and then incorporating reflective analysis about the research into each essay post. 

This process will then create a reflective and interactive research process that the student can revisit and potentially even get feedback from the outside world should other writers make comments on any of the posts.

On this topic, Stage of Life will be releasing its "BE THE CHANGE" research paper curriculum kit in 2013 for secondary Language Arts teachers.  Look for that on our Educational Resources page soon.

Language Standards (11th and 12th grade)
Conventions of Standard English:
L.11-12.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • Apply the understanding that usage is a matter of convention, can change over time, and is sometimes contested.
STAGEOFLIFE:  Our writing contest rules and judging criteria encourage students to use the conventions of standard English when writing their essays.
L.11-12.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
  • Observe hyphenation conventions.
  • Spell correctly.
STAGEOFLIFE:  Our writing contest rules and judging criteria encourage students to use the conventions of standard English when writing their essays.
Knowledge of Language:
L.11-12.3. Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
  • Vary syntax for effect, consulting references (e.g., Tufte’s Artful Sentences) for guidance as needed; apply an understanding of syntax to the study of complex texts when reading.
L.11-12.4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 11–12 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
  • Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence, paragraph, or text; a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
  • Identify and correctly use patterns of word changes that indicate different meanings or parts of speech (e.g., conceive, conception, conceivable).
L.11-12.5. Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
  • Interpret figures of speech (e.g., hyperbole, paradox) in context and analyze their role in the text.
  • Analyze nuances in the meaning of words with similar denotations.
L.11-12.6. Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

Educational Resources and Free Lesson Plans

Free Writing Resources for Students

The below Stage of Life teen writing contests, teen trend reports, etiquette Q&A, and teacher resources have been mentioned by...

Our writing contests mentioned by TIME.com
Our Teen Trend Report mentioned by MarketWatch Our etiquette resources mentioned by FOX Business Educator tips mentioned by Mashable

 

With over half a million teachers, professors, teens, college students, and parents visiting StageofLife.com each school year, we make it a priority to create the best free writing resources for students and teachers.  We are a grassroots writing initiative founded with a mission to get people of all ages writing, and in particular encouraging students to write outside of the classroom...

Teen Writing Contest

National Student Writing Contests

  • Encourage your students to enter our free, monthly national writing contest for high school students and college students.
  • Our essay winners have received mentions by the media including TIME.com, Mint Education, and more.
  • Essay contest topics deal with real-world issues.
  • Great practice for AP Test, SAT test, college essay writing, and more.
  • View Details, Summaries and more About Our Writing Contests
  • View Current Writing Contest
 
Enter Teen Writing Contest
  Contact Us with questions about our writing contests
 
Short Short Story writing contest on StageofLife.com and Twitter 

"Short Short Story" Writing Contest - Twitter

  • Don't have time to write a 500 word essay?  How creative can your students be in 127 characters?  StageofLife.com hosts a monthly writing contest on Twitter with real prizes each month.
  • Have your students take 5 minutes and try their best at this creative, but frustrating, writing contest exercise.
Enter Twitter Writing Contest on StageofLife.com
 
Word of the Day - Vocab Exercise
 

Word of the Day

  • We featured a new vocab word each day
  • Use our Word of the Day as inspiration for a personal essay or blog post on StageofLife.com
  • Teachers and educators can integrate the vocabulary in their classroom activities or ask the students to use the word in a free-write activity.
StageofLife.com's word of the day
 
Classroom writing exercises and ideas
 

Notes to the Teacher

Notes to the Teacher - Writing Exercises
 
 Homeschool Writing Resources

 Homeschooling Writing Resources

  • Our writing resources are great for the classroom, but if you're a homeschooling student or parent, check out our free, homeschooling writing resources.
  • Writing contests, educational resources, and homeschooling resources are updated here...
Homeschooling Writing Resources
 
 Free classroom poster

Get "Writer" Classroom Poster

  • We've created a 18" x 12" color poster for high school or college classrooms.
  • We only charge for the shipping and handling fee
  • We've sent out over 1000 posters to Language Arts, Creative Writing, and English Teachers!
Get free writing poster for your classroom

  Print mini-poster now
Questions about our poster?
 
Introduction to Blogging Lesson Plans

Introduction to Student Blogging

  • Get the 101 on blogging
  • Digital literacy - why blogging is important for the classroom
  • Our Blogging Lesson Plans include activities such as...
    1. Blogging Basics lesson plan
    2. Values & Beliefs lesson plan
    3. Reflection & Wisdom lesson plan
    4. Life stage interview lesson plan
    5. Food, Health & Writing lesson plan
    6. Heroes lesson plan
    7. Teen stress lesson plan
Blogging lesson plans on StageofLife.com
  Print blogging lesson plans Print Blogging Lesson Plans
Contact Us about our Student Blogging Resources
 
Mentor Texts and Essay Examples

Mentor Texts

  • Use our past student winners as good examples of essay writing, i.e. Mentor Texts
  • Our teen writing winners provide excellent essay examples of authentic voice and utilizing a stylistic point of view
  • Read past writing contest winners and finalists by visiting our Teen Trends reports
  • View Mentor Texts
Examples of good essay writing -- mentor texts
  Print Mentor Texts  Print Mentor Texts
  Contact Us with questions about our mentor texts
 
Teen Trends 

Teen Trend Reports

  • Over 400,000 teenagers, college students, and teachers visit StageofLife.com each year to either read or submit an essay.
  • Because of these visits, we are able to pull together full teen trend reports from our national writing contests and survey results on topics ranging from sports to politics to nature to bullying and more.
  • You'll also find in each report links to the relevant student essays, all grouped by topic.
  • View Teen Trends

  View StageofLife.com Teen Trend Reports
  Contact Us for more information about our monthly teen trend reports
 
Teen Writing Workshops

Writing Conferences and Workshops for Teenagers


  Teen writing conferences and workshops
Contact Us to add your Writing Conferences or Workshop to our list
 

 Essay Writing Prompts

Writing Prompts

  • Are you looking for ideas on though-provoking writing prompts for your Creative Writing, English or Language Arts classes?
  • We have scores of writing prompts that deal with real-world issues important to teens
  • Each prompt came from one of the previous Stage of Life national student essay contests
  • Mentor texts, lesson plans and summary pages are provided as appropriate
  • View Writing Prompts
Ideas for writing prompts
  Print Writing Prompts  Print Writing Prompts   Contact Us to submit writing prompts
 
Library Resources on StageofLife.com 

Library Resources

  • As a free literacy initiative, Stage of Life features blogs, articles, statistics, trends, resources and information about libraries
  • View our Library Resources
   Library Resources on StageofLife.com Contact Stage of Life Contact Us about our Library Resources
 
 Common Core State Standards

English and Language Arts Common Core State Standards

  • Stage of Life mapped its digital literacy activities to the Common Core State Standards
  • Get ideas on how Stage of Life fits many of the Language Arts State Standards, both for those states using the Common Core State Standards and those using their own.
  • View the Stage of Life and Language Arts State Standards Mapping

   Common Core mapping on StageofLife.com Contact Stage of Life Contact Us about our Common Core and State Standards mapping
 
New Journalism - Use Blogging to Conduct Interviews 

Interviews - Students Use Blogging as Form of New Journalism

  • Interviewing a professor or teacher, celebrity, band, government official, or really anyone for that matter, is a great way for students to use blogging to explore "new journalism" formats and techniques
  • View our blog interview example
Example of Blog Interview - StageofLife.com
 

How Would Teens Improve Education

 

How Would Students Improve Education?

How would teens improve education?
  Print Free Goal Setting Worksheet  Print Teens and Education press release   Contact Us with comments about how students can improve their schools
 
 Student goal setting

Goal Setting Worksheet

  • Help your students set goals
  • Our Stage of Life Goal Setting Worksheet can be used as an in-class activity or as a take-home assignment
  • Educators are encouraged to use it themselves as a personal or professional tool too
  • View Goal Setting Worksheet
Goal setting worksheet
  Print Free Goal Setting WorksheetPrint Goal Setting Worksheet
  Contact Us with questions about our free goal setting worksheet
 
 Teacher Appreciation

Teacher Appreciation

  • View over 180 positive essays written by teens about their teachers
  • Read the five positive relationship benefits good teachers bring to their students
  • Get the latest trends on teens and how they communicate
  • View Teacher Appreciation page
Teacher Appreciation
  How do teens communicate? Print Teen Communication Trends
  Contact Us about our Teacher Appreciation efforts
 
 

Teens Making the World a Better Place

  • Utilize our "Making the World a Better Place" writing prompt to get students thinking and writing about how they can change the world and make a difference
  • Read past student essays about making the world a better place
  • Ask your class to explore the list of student-nominated, "making a difference" organizations by our teen bloggers and writers - maybe they have their own cause to add to the list?
  • View Making the World a Better Place
Making the world a better place on StageofLife.com
  Be The Change lessonPrint press release
  Contact Us with questions about our Making the World a Better Place initiative
 
 

Inspirational Videos

  • Watch our collection of inspirational videos sourced from YouTube
  • After watching the videos, ask your students blog on StageofLife.com about how they intend to change the world or be a positive change in the world.
  • View Inspirational Videos

  Inspirational videos for teachers to use in the classroom
  Contact Us with an inspirational video for teens or teachers
 
Digital Literacy

Digital Literacy - Using Blogs in the Classroom

  • Hear from our panel of experts who use blogging in the classroom
  • Get tips on how to increase your students' digital literacy by incorporating technology into the classroom
  • View Digital Literacy experts
  • View latest trends on Teen Communication

  Digital Literacy
  Contact Us about Digital Literacy
 
Health effects of writing

Health and Writing

  • Read about the positive health effects of blogging and writing
  • Help your students reduce teen stress through journaling, blogging or writing
  • View Writing is Healthy

  Writing is healthy
  Contact Us to add resources about how writing is healthy
 
 

Why Educators Use Stage of Life®

  • Six Reasons Educators Use StageofLife.com in the Classroom...
    1. Free
    2. Unlimited essay storage
    3. Interactive blog platform
    4. It's about the writing
    5. Customized for teachers
    6. Real World writing prompts
  • View our Educational Resources Overview
Six reasons to use StageofLife.com
 

Authors & Celebrities 

  • Authors and Celebrities share their stories with Stage of Life regarding advice for teen writers
    • Susan Woolridge, author of Poemcrazy
    • Michael Patrick Walker, songwriter and co-author of "Alter Boyz"
    • James Kristofic, author of Navajos Wear Nikes: A Reservation Life

   Writers and Poets on StageofLife.com  Contact Us if you know an author or celebrity who has writing advice for teens
 
 Susan Wooldridge

Poem Writing Tips

  • Tips for writing poetry from author of Poemcrazy, Susan Wooldridge
  • View Poem Writing Tips

 
Poem writing tips from StageofLife.com
 Contact Us to add poem writing resources
 
Education partnerships 

Education Resource Partners

Stage of Life has been fortunate to either work directly with or referenced by influencial organizations, schools, non-profits and programs who see a value in our mission to improve digital literacy and have a like-minded mission to support students, teachers and educational initiatives.

A few examples of our educational partnerships or features...
  • NCTE - Stage of Life was an exhibitor at the 2013 NCTE Annual Convention in Boston.  Hundreds of high school Language Arts teachers and college English professors stopped by to meet our VP of Education, Rebecca Thiegs, and pick up our classroom writing contest poster.
  • Teach.com - inspirational resource for anyone currently teaching or thinking about becoming a teacher.  Our very own Stage of Life education consultant, Rebecca, was featured on the Teach.com blog.
  • Mint Education - helping teach students about financial literacy.  Mint featured several of our Stage of Life student blogs about money.
  • Lancaster Museum of Art - Stage of Life CEO, Eric Thiegs, was invited by the LMAPA to present a seminar to teens on the power of writing and artistic collaboration.
  • Tech.IT.U - Stage of Life CEO, Eric Thiegs, was a featured speaker on "the Benefits of Teen Blogging" at the Penn State York sponsored Tech.It.U conference.
  • PCTELA - "Voices of Literacy" Conference - Stage of Life co-Founders, Eric & Rebecca Thiegs, were featured session speakers on "Extending Writing Outside the Classroom Through Blogging" at the 2012 PCTELA conference (Pennsylvania Council of Teachers for English and Language Arts).
 
Coupons for Teachers

Up to 50% Off Discounts for Teachers

Because of the generous support of our national education sponsors, our Stage of Life members can save up to 50% off at many top brands and retailers.  Check out Stage of Life's free My Life Rewards® program to find great coupons and discounts for teachers to save money inside the classroom and out!

     

   Discounts and coupons for teachers  Contact Us about our discounts and coupons for teachers

Contact UsPlease check back often: these pages are regularly updated with new material and ideas.  Our door at Stage of Life is always open: if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, feel free to contact us!

Education and Writing Consultant

Contact Rebecca - Stage of Life blogging consultantThe above teen blogging and writing prompt ideas were developed by Rebecca Thiegs, M.Ed. 

She is the resident, educational consultant for Stage of Life and welcomes feedback on this Language Arts blogging curriculum; in particular, which parts worked best for you.

Becky Thiegs, M.Ed

Rebecca earned her Masters of English Education from the University of Minnesota and has spent the last 15 years teaching high school English, Language Arts, Creative Writing and Public Speaking in a wide range of schools from an urban setting in Minneapolis to an affluent suburb of Philadelphia to a rural, small town in York County, PA.  In addition to her high school teaching career, Rebecca was a senior curriculum consultant for McDaniel College as part of their Summer Enrichment Program through a partnership with the DC Success Foundation, an initiative supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  She sits on the board of her local library, is a certified Writing Fellow from the National Writing Project, serves as the guest book blogger for her local newspaper, lived in London England, and is the passionate mother of two. 

Rebecca is available to speak or consult on Language Arts educational trends and in particular, teen blogging and getting writing out of the classroom.

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StageofLife.com is an education-based, grassroots, non-partisan, free blogging community with a mission support digital literacy by making the world a better place, one story, essay, and blog at a time.  Stage of Life users (teens, college students, Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomers) can share and archive their life stories via their Stage of Life profile page.  Specialized content includes literacy resources, free lesson plans, writing prompts for Language Arts teachers, monthly writing contests for high school students (and older generations), student blogging initiatives, blog directories, and financial literacy tools - including Life Rewards® - our free discount program for all Stage of Life users, readers and writers dedicated to providing printable coupons and coupon codes tailored towards each stage of life.

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